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Responsible Breeders' Perspective

Swissy FAQ


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Stud Dogs

Questions Frequently Asked about Swissys

1. Average waiting period to get a puppy? Three months to a year depending on your location and availability.

2. Are they easy to housebreak? In most cases it will take patience and several months to potty train your Swissy.

3. Are they good with children? Swissies are wonderful around children, however, they both need to learn mutual respect.

4. Are they easy to train? Collar and leash training is fairly simple. You must be consistent and use a lot of praise for more intense training. Local clubs have excellent training classes.

5. Are they easy to breed and raise puppies? Swissies are not easy to breed, and if you previously haven't been involved breeding other large/giant dogs, then a Swissy is NOT where you should start.

6. What are their exercise needs? They have moderate exercise needs that can be met with a daily, mile-long, brisk walk around the neighborhood.

7. What is their average lifespan? Their average lifespan varies from eight to ten years and beyond.

8. What are the main health issues? The main health issues in the breed are bloat/torsion (acute gastric dilatation) of both abdominal and splenic origin and epilepsy.

9. Average yearly veterinary expenses? The average yearly veterinary expenses vary among individuals. Generally, they require heartworm medication for a giant breed, and vaccinations ranging from yearly to three- year interim boosters. The cost may vary from as little as $300 per year to thousands of dollars in emergency surgical procedures.

10. What are some emergencies that may occur? Some emergencies that may occur include ingestion of foreign objects in puppies and young adults, heat stroke, and acute gastric dilatation.

11. Are they good with other smaller animals-i.e. small dogs, cats or livestock? With proper introduction, Swissies are good with other small animals or livestock. Some Swissies have a higher prey drive and may need more training to coexist with cats, chickens, etc.

12. Do they shed a lot? The Swissy is a double-coated breed, with a medium- long length outer coat and a soft undercoat. They do shed, more so in warmer climates. Twice a year, in spring and fall, they "blow" their coats.

13. What vaccine protocol is recommended? Vaccination recommendations have recently undergone a great revision. Some veterinarians may not be up-to-date. Most breeders recommend a conservative approach to vaccines. A puppy will be given one set of shots at or near eight weeks of age followed with a booster three to four weeks later. Rabies requirements vary from state to state.

14. Is crate training recommended? Yes. Used correctly, a crate gives a dog a "room of his own." It is useful during housebreaking, as a safe time-out place, and as a home away from home when traveling.

15. Average price range of a Swissy? Show quality puppies will generally sell for $1800 to $2000, with pet prices ranging from about $1500 to $1800.

16. What food products are recommended? Read the dog food ingredient labels, which should start with a meat (i.e. chicken, beef, lamb) product first; be in the mid-20% on protein levels, and be about 15-18% fat. Please see fact sheet on using "bioavailable foods" in your dog's diet. Read up on BARF diets by Dr. Ian Billinghurst.

17. What toys are safe? Consult your breeder on which toys he/she recommends.

18. Do they bark a lot? They can be very loud and obnoxious at times, but usually bark intermittently.

19. Are they good in the heat? Yes, they can survive in the heat with judicious use of air conditioning; access to shade, and/or a baby pool full of water in the summer.

20. Do I want a show or companion Swissy? It really depends on whether or not you want to actually show your dog in conformation and someday breed your dog or not. Companion type may have minor deviations from the standard, like coloration patterns, that will not impact the dog's health, but the breeder would not want to use it for breeding. Most breeders are reluctant to sell a really nice show pup to a home that is not going to actively show it in conformation.

21. Should they be in a fenced area? When they are outside without supervision, then it is important that they be in a fenced enclosure. They will usually stick around you if you are out with them. It only takes a second for a dog to get killed by a car; so care must be taken with these animal charges as they have only the intelligence of a 4-5 year old child. They don't have the mental capacity to understand the concept to stay out of the road.

22. Should they be fed puppy or adult food? It is recommended that you feed a large breed puppy formula or a good quality adult formula. Never feed a generic puppy food, as the pup will grow too fast and may develop joint problems during growth.

23. Is crate training necessary? When a puppy is unsupervised it is best to either have it in a crate or a small enclosure so that they do not get into anything that can be dangerous to them such as electrical wire cords, rocks and sticks which they could eat and/or swallow whole.

24. At what age is training class recommended? Usually it is recommended to take pups to kindergarten classes at 12-16 weeks old; then follow up with beginning obedience classes at 6-8 months of age.

Last updated:

November 10, 2010

Contact the Corresponding Secretary, Juanita Thrall Jones or by phone (954) 474-7188